More and more patients are starting hospital treatment within 18 weeks of referral from their general practitioner (GP), according to the UK’s Department of Health.
The National Health Service (NHS) said it has met its 2004 commitment to reduce the time patients wait from referral from their GP to starting their treatment.
Recently released figures show that up to March 2008, 85% of patients who required admission to hospital and 90% of patients not needing admission started treatment within 18 weeks of referral from their GP.
The NHS said the announcement demonstrates the health service is firmly on track to meet the government’s target that by December 2008 every patient, for whom it is clinically appropriate and who wants it, will start their treatment within 18 weeks.
Health Minister for Public Health Dawn Primarolo said: “As well as demonstrating that NHS reform is leading to clinically appropriate effective treatment and care, this data indicates that most NHS trusts are on track to achieve the December target to treat all patients within 18 weeks and many have already met it.
“Ten years ago it was not uncommon to wait 18 months or more for treatment and people died languishing on waiting lists – it’s fantastic that almost all patients now begin treatment within 18 weeks.”
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